February 1, 2020
This year’s 2020 Sponsor Night was a smashing success! Representatives from our sponsors such as Johnson & Johnson, Nordson, Church & Dwight, along with the Superintendent and Principal of Allentown High School attended. We were excited to also host the Mayor of Allentown, the Mayor of the Upper Freehold Township, and many of our team member’s parents.
The night started with food for attendees which were thoughtfully donated by many of our parents. Afterward, sponsors and guests were shown a few presentations by our Leadership Team which explained what students have been working on this season, along with the CAD for each subteam. Sponsors that came were all given gifts that contained a thank-you letter, a custom Redbird Robotics bottle, and a plaque of recognition for their continuous support of our team.
After the presentations, each of the leaders presented their prototypes and ran demos using prototypes that they had created. One student leader, RJ McLaughlin said that “It was an inspirational experience being able to present information to such knowledgeable people…it was a great experience.” By the end of the day, the attendees were given tours of our workshop and saw many of our behind the scenes works.
Following the event, one of our Sponsors from Johnson & Johnson, Deborah Berrien, told us “I was extremely impressed by the presentations delivered at Sponsor Night. It is amazing to see what the sub-teams are working on, their creative design ideas and execution of the design, and the amount of progress that has been made in such a small period of time. Team 1807 epitomizes the values and mission of FIRST robotics and I couldn’t be more proud and honored to be a sponsor.” Next year, we tentatively expect Sponsor Night to be on February 5, 2021.
January 31, 2020
This week the Business Team, after hard work and lots of planning, were able to have a very successful Sponsor Night. They coordinated presentations and assembled gift bags for our sponsors. Sponsor Night showed everyone who came what our team has completed this build season. In addition to planning Sponsor Night, the Business Team has been working adding all of our mentor bios to our team’s website for all of our supportive parents and sponsors to see. Finally, the Business Team has finalized the order form for this year’s team apparel.
Our indexer and shooter were finalized and tested. They worked out very well, and as a result, the Build Team is continuing to finalize the rest of our robot. This week, the Build Team has worked on attaching the two designs together. The Indexer stores and transports the power cells to the shooter which shoots the power cells into the power ports. Once combined, the indexer and shooter were tested, and few tweaks were made to make it work more effectively. In this coming week, the two teams will continue to hammer out any problems or complications they encounter with either of the two parts.
The Lift Team has finished their CAD design and was able to begin refining their finished model. Over the weekend they will be practicing with their lift using a prototype made out of styrofoam. By the end of this week and the coming weeks, the goal of the Lift Team is to have a prototype finished and ready for on-robot testing.
The Programming Team has been testing their coding on the 2017 robot. Until this year’s robot is built, the Programming Team is to continue its code testing and driving capabilities on the 2017 robot.
January 24, 2020
Week three for our team was very successful. Our Design Team used CAD (Computer-Aided Design) to finish designing parts for our final robot. The Programming Team started to hone their driving skills using our 2017 robot, while the Build Team worked on finishing the prototype for the feeder and shooter. The Lift Team started prototyping their lift design after two weeks of trying to find a design that would fit on our low bot. Lastly, the Business Team finalized this year’s team apparel, and are preparing for Sponsor Night.
The Design Team
The Design Team made huge strides in progress. They made many parts of the robots on CAD. After talking with other team leaders and some mentors, a subdivision of the Design Team, the Lift Team decided to design the lift as a two-stage elevator. Having the lift set up as a two-stage elevator allows for the overall robot design to be more compact, which assists in the robot’s ability to climb higher and fit within the build parameters of FIRST Robotics.
The Design Team, responsible for putting the robot together through CAD, worked in collaboration with the Feeder Team. With this collaboration, the Design Team decided to use belts instead of roller wheels in order to pick up power cells in the competition. The advantage of using belts instead of roller wheels is that belts are easier to replace, they move the balls to the feeder faster, and they are far less likely to jam.
The Build Team
The Build Team has made up their minds on the specifics of our robot. The Feeder Team decided to put both the feeder and the shooter on one plate. This further compacted our robot, making it more effective overall. The Feeder Team then reverted back to one of the more original designs of the robot. This older design was taller and could hold the maximum capacity of five balls all by itself. The reason as to why this design was originally put aside was the issue that it took too long to move the balls from the feeder into the shooter. This was compensated for by making the feeder and shooter closer, and by replacing the feeder belts with chain. The chains were chosen over the belts because they did not slip and fall off like the belts often did. Additionally, more minor but still important mechanisms were adjusted.
The Programming Team
The Programming Team has developed a code that allows the robot to identify and align with targets at competitions. Additionally, they developed a code that would allow them to easily maneuver the robot, as well as a set of codes that lets the robot do all of this autonomously. The Programming Team also updated their Falcon 500 codes which are the codes needed for the robot’s motors and motor controller. Until this year’s robot is finished, the programming team will continue to clean-up their code and get more comfortable with their coding software using the 2017 robot. The Programming Team will soon be able to start coding this year’s robot.
The Business Team
The Business Team has finalized the team shirt design, is creating the team’s second newsletter, and is taking many photos to document the team’s progress. In addition, they are continuing to prepare for Sponsor Night, on January 31. Our team is extremely excited to see all of our sponsors and parents and show them all of our progress this season.
January 19, 2020
The process of choosing a strategy for the type of robot to use and designing that robot is a long and challenging process. There are many ways for teams to design their robot. One of these designs is a tall robot. Tall bots have the ability to hold more power cells (balls), to climb with ease, and even to shoot easier. These upsides, however, are negated mostly due to the lower scoring capability of the robot.
This is where the idea of a low bot, also called a trench bot, came in. Trench bots have a low center of gravity ensuring faster cycles for scoring points and the ability to easily maneuver through the low trenches during the game. The robot’s ability to maneuver through the trenches gives it the advantage of protected cycles. This is because opposing robots are disabled from blocking our team’s side of the trenches. As a result, trench bots that can maneuver through the trenches also have an easier time avoiding the opposing team’s defenses. While also allowing it to speed across the field to defend against enemy robot’s attempts at scoring points. After considering the size of our robot, we were left to deliberate the shooting capabilities of the robot.
The two big design options for a shooter are the two-wheel shooter design, and the hooded shooter design. The two wheel shooter design has a few advantages, such as faster moving shots and a further range than its hooded shooter counterpart. The two-wheel shooter is able to do this, as its design is more effective when converting the kinetic energy from the engine to the power cells (balls) while shooting. The two-wheel shooter suffers from a major flaw, however, as it is similar to a cannon. This is due to the fact that it could shoot hard and fast, but it is difficult for it to make accurate shots. The hooded shooter, unlike the two-wheel shooter, is hyper accurate and could shoot into our power ports from many different locations on our side of the arena. The hooded shooter, after some experimentation, has a better ability to fit through a more confined area, like the trenches.
January 17, 2020
During Week 2, the Design Team collaborated with the rest of the team to prototype the final design for our robot. The Design Team worked tirelessly in partnership with the Build Team to determine what would be the most effective and efficient design for our 2020 robot. They debated over building a high bot, a trench bot, a low bot, a hooded shooter, or a two wheel shooter. After some intense discussion, we had narrowed our possible design options to just a few choices. As of now, we are leaning towards using a hooded shooter design for our robot.
Additionally, we are determining how many power cells we want our robot to manipulate and shoot into the power ports at once. To figure this out, we received a new shipment of wheels, which we’ll be using to design and prototype the robot this coming week. The wheels will be used to take in balls from across the field so that during the game the robot can then shoot the collected power cells (balls) into the power ports (goals) with great precision.
Meanwhile, the Business Team has been working hard to prepare for Sponsor Night, designing team apparel, creating newsletters, and taking many photos in order to document the team’s journey throughout the season. For Sponsor Night, they have prepared a presentation that includes last year’s accomplishments, our outreach programs, our goals for this year, and the prototype for this year’s robot.